Mayor temporarily bans workers from traveling to Arizona on city business 

Mayor Gavin Newsom has barred city workers from traveling to Arizona on official business, hoping to send a message to the state after it passed an immigration law last week, though some are concerned that the move sends the wrong message.

The mayor’s travel ban is a temporary measure that buys The City time while Newsom convenes a working group to consider and analyze the effects of a full-fledged boycott against Arizona and its businesses.

Already, the ban has applied to San Francisco Housing Authority Director Henry Alvarez, who canceled a weekend trip to attend a housing conference, said Tony Winnicker, Newsom’s spokesman.

Newsom said a travel ban sends Arizona a clear message without hurting business.

“We stand together as San Franciscans and Californians in condemning Arizona’s punitive anti-immigrant law, and we are united in our determination to see the law repealed in Arizona,” Newsom said. “We are taking specific actions to develop a smart and effective boycott that sends the appropriate message to Arizona while protecting The City’s financial interests.”

Newsom’s travel ban is an attempt to temper emotionally charged pleas to sever economic ties with the state of Arizona. On Monday, City Attorney Dennis Herrera called on San Francisco politicians to terminate all contracts with Arizona-based businesses. Supervisor David Campos then introduced a resolution to boycott Arizona and its businesses until its lawmakers repeal the immigration bill, which allows law enforcers to detain people they suspect are in the United States illegally.

Newsom has been reluctant to move forward with a sweeping boycott, saying it could have some negative unintended consequences. For instance, the company that processes payments for The City’s Jobs Now program, which has helped to employ more than 2,500 local residents, is based in Arizona. Terminating that contract could cost thousands of jobs, Winnicker said.

Another thing to consider: a reverse boycott, said Steve Falk, president of the Chamber of Commerce. Falk noted that a vast majority of San Francisco tourists travel from Arizona.

esherbert@sfexaminer.com

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